By ANDREA LANNOM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would legalize medical marijuana is one step closer to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk after the West Virginia Senate concurred to changes made by the House of Delegates.
By a 28-6 vote, senators approved to the amended version of Senate Bill 386. Since there were two amendments dealing with language cleanup and technical changes, the Medical Cannabis Act now heads back to the House for approval before heading to the governor’s desk.
In Wednesday afternoon’s session, Sen. Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, said he couldn’t support the bill because he was worried about West Virginia being in conflict with federal law.
“If the federal government passed a law tomorrow that said marijuana is legal for medical purposes, I would not have a problem with it,” he said.
Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, the lead sponsor of the bill, said that he supported the amended version, saying the bill will help people.
“Let’s do what’s right by the people of West Virginia and get these people the relief they desperately need and deserve,” Ojeda said.
The House passed the bill in a 76-24 vote Tuesday. The bill would not allow smoking or packaged edible products. However, a person could get a pill, oil or topical forms. People would have to get a certificate from the Bureau for Public Health and an ID card to go to a dispensary and have a product filled for a 30-day supply.
The amended bill would allow 30 dispensaries and 10 growers. For growers, there would be a $5,000 initial fee, a $50,000 fee for growers and processors and a $5,000 renewal fee. The bill also charges a $10,000 fee for dispensaries for each location and a $2,500 renewal fee.
The money would go into the Bureau for Public Health to operate the program along with the Department of Juvenile Correctional Services, the police academy for training law enforcement and to the governor’s Fight Substance Abuse Fund.
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